Pitcher, Baseball Player
1918 – 1989
Who was Vern Olsen?
Vern Jarl Olsen was an American professional baseball player, a left-handed pitcher who appeared in 112 Major League games for the Chicago Cubs. The native of Hillsboro, Oregon, stood 6 feet tall and weighed 175 pounds. He served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II and missed three full seasons at the peak of his career.
Olsen had considerable success before the war. During his three seasons in minor league baseball he won 23, 19 and 18 games before his recall to the Cubs in September 1939. After four scoreless relief appearances in the closing days of the 1939 season, Olsen then made the Cubs' 1940 roster and, after more success as a reliever, began taking a regular turn in the Chicago starting rotation in July 1940. On August 22, he threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout against the Brooklyn Dodgers, contributing two hits to the winning cause himself as the Cubs won, 5–0, at Wrigley Field. He would throw three other shutouts, finishing third in the National League in that category in 1940, post a 13–9 record, and finish fifth in the league in earned run average, with nine total complete games.